Unvaccinated People Are Banned From Going Here, Starting Jan. 8
New restrictions will require proof of vaccination into 2022.
Vaccinations were originally seen as a one-way ticket out of the pandemic, but many countries, including the U.S., have since found that containing COVID is trickier than anticipated. Amid a surging number of summer infections due to the fast-spreading Delta variant and a slowing pace of vaccinations, the virus has continued to spread over the last year. As health officials continue to urge unvaccinated people to get the COVID shot, new vaccine mandates have begun popping up here and abroad. In the U.S., many major cities are now requiring proof of vaccination for most indoor spaces, and overseas, similar requirements have been put into place. In fact, restrictions against unvaccinated people are already seeping into next year.
If you're planning on taking a destination vacation in 2022, there's one place you might no longer be able to enjoy if you're unvaccinated: Costa Rica. On Nov. 2, the country's tourism organization Essential Costa Rica updated their entry requirements to inform travelers that many businesses will soon be requiring proof of vaccination.
This new mandate goes into effect Jan. 8, 2022 and affects many businesses, including hotels, restaurants, bars, casinos, shops, museums, art and dance academies, gymnasiums, resorts, and adventure tourism. These places "may admit only persons who are verifiably fully-vaccinated [with] Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZenca, [or] Janssen," the organization states. If you're 12 years of age or older, you will need to provide proof with a QR code or your printed vaccine certificate.
There are a few exceptions to this new mandate. Children under 12 years of age will not have to present proof of vaccination, nor will tourists who have a medical condition that makes it impossible for them to get any of the four vaccines approved by the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica. Also, "essential services such as supermarkets and pharmacies will not require proof of vaccination," according to the organization's update.
Currently, the country is still allowing in unvaccinated individuals. Any tourist who is 18 or older without proof of vaccination must purchase an accepted travel policy that covers COVID care and quarantine, if necessary, while all tourists under 18 can enter the country without a travel policy and unvaccinated. But starting Jan. 8, any unvaccinated tourists 12 years and older will not be allowed to go into commercial establishments.
"The requirement of being fully-vaccinated to enter commercial establishments, except for stated exceptions, does not prevent tourists without vaccination, with incomplete vaccination schedules or inoculated with vaccines not admitted in Costa Rica, from entering the country to visit family, friends or their properties in the country," Essential Costa Rica confirmed.
Costa Rica is not the only country to have issued similar restrictions, but other countries have gone so far as to outright ban unvaccinated U.S. travelers altogether. The Netherlands is only allowing vaccinated visitors in, and they still need a negative PCR tested taken within 48 hours of departure or a negative antigen test performed within 24 hours of departure, according to The New York Times. U.S. tourists visiting Spain must also be vaccinated, and in France, unvaccinated U.S. travelers may not enter the country unless they have proof of a "compelling" reasons.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is making it harder for unvaccinated individuals to leave the country and return. Starting Nov. 8, unvaccinated U.S. travelers must provide a negative COVID test taken within one day—instead of three days—before traveling internationally, as well as take a second test after returning home, per The New York Times.
"Do not travel international until you are fully vaccinated," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns. "Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants."